Updated: Jan 24, 2019
Growing up in a family of 6 was great in my early years. I am the youngest and have 2 elder brothers and one sister. We are all pretty much three years apart. Life was nice and simple back then, we played together, we climbed trees, played tennis, hockey and everything in between. My eldest brother Cameron didn't involve himself much as far as my memories go, but I was very close to my next brother Ryan and also my sister Michelle, who is absolutely my best friend.
So what went wrong? My parents separated when I was 10 and it was pretty messy, to be honest. Even though I was only 10, I understood why Mum needed to leave Dad, there was no companionship at all between them and we went everywhere with Mum. She took us to sports, music and was always at school functions. Dad, on the other hand, was so bitter and angry about what had happened that he took an entirely different stance. He was angry, and rightly so, however instead of dealing with it in an adult way, he became obsessed with money and was verbally abusive to me about Mum and my soon to be Stepdad, Ray. Our father-son time involved a once a week dinner to Red Rooster.
I digress because this isn't about Dad, which I will write about separately because it deserves its own story. We have reconnected last year after almost 20 years and my relationship with my Dad is nothing to do with my brothers, despite their feelings to the contrary.
In the years following the split, we came together more like a family as Ray navigated his way through suddenly being lumped with a bunch of kids. However, both Cameron and Ryan changed completely. Ever since I was about 8 or 9 Ryan started to hate me, for what reason I have no idea. He would constantly hassle me and call me a fag, fairy, poofter, all the classic insults for the time. Cameron, on the other hand, started to treat Mum like absolute rubbish and again, for what reason to do this day have no idea why. He also treated Michelle horribly, which is like being awful to the kindest person on the planet. I remember Mum having major surgery in Sydney and then being back home and Cameron never once visited her. So when he eventually did call, of course, I gave him a mouthful, so that was one strike against a 14yo.
See I am the explosive one who cannot hold my tongue. Michelle is much more able to control her responses and not let things get to her so much. So as a 15 or 16-year old, I told Cameron off for being such a rubbish son. I laugh now because he hung up on me and then got his wife to call and have a go. Super mature I know. Mum did everything possible to sustain a relationship with Cameron and he repeatedly just ignored her or was outright rude and nasty. I could name a dozen times off the top of my head of times where Cameron was just mean, simple. And during all of this instead of being the big brother, he should have been, he couldn't have cared less about us, even Ryan. He knew how protective Michelle and I were of Mum and in the end, he literally phoned Mum who was begging him to know what had gone wrong and told her never wanted anything to do with her, Michelle or me ever again. To his credit, he wasn't kidding, with a clank of the phone hanging up that was the end his relationship with his own mother, sister and little brother. Mum was devastated as any mother would be. Being the eldest he was her first child after many difficulties trying and she loved him more than anything.There was and still has never been a logical explanation about why he did what he did.
In the process, he effectively ended his relationship with myself and Michelle. Again, I won't speculate why someone would write off their brother and sister at that age and actually follow through with it but that's exactly what happened. Only he knows why he did what he did and why he never fixed it.
Well, that horse has bolted, but Ryan was an altogether different situation for me. I knew he hated me for so long but never knew why. In years to come, he would use Dad as an excuse, which was utter rubbish and to this day I still don't know why he has directed so much hatred and anger towards me.
When I attempted suicide, he knew about it, as well as all the other struggles I have been through and never once reached out. What he doesn't know, is that I ask about him all the time because I wouldn't wish anything that I have been through on someone else. I ask how all of the kids are, his wife and how his new job is going.
So the cold reality whether anyone likes it or not is that I was left with two brothers who apparently hated me for no reason and a non-existent father for 20 years. That, my friends, is called abandonment and neglect.
Thankfully I have a good relationship with my sister in law so I can always stay up to date with my nieces and nephews. But to this day I still have no idea why he Ryan "hopes I rot in hell".
I have been through too much to be angry or upset anymore. Besides, I am only writing this because it is therapeutic for ME. I could never imagine just removing a whole part of your family for any reason. But as they say, it is what it is. But it has impacted me significantly over the years because I spent so much time blaming myself for it.
It meant as a 16yo who was violently sexually assaulted I had no males in my life to turn to.
I want to be clear, I don't "hate" either of them, it has already taken its toll so much on me that I refuse to let it take any more. I'm sure they have their reasons and they seem happy enough to live with it. But I do think its incredibly sad that out of 4 siblings only Michelle and I are super close. I am grateful for her every single day, he kindness and her compassion is so profound that she makes up for 10 brothers.
So to you Cameron and Ryan, I wish you no harm or no ill feelings. Whatever your choices were are yours to bear. I know there will be no chance of repairing those relationships and I have come to just have to accept that. I am happy to have my Dad back in my life but I will never ever regret saying that Ray was a proper father to me, because that would be betraying the truth. He has been there for me through everything and the fact that I said that he was a better father to ME, is not something I would ever take back.
It is hard to know you have two brothers out there who could be both friends and brothers and is equally difficult to know how they could hate someone so much that they would never speak to them again. So with this post comes the one and only time I will speak about them. I am not playing the victim, but I am done with spending any more energy trying to figure out why things are the way they are.
Instead, I am grateful to the small circle I do have, Mum, Ray and of course Michelle.